VALLEY FORGE, PA (2/19/20)—The National Executive Council encourages all American Baptists to embrace the upcoming Lenten Season in order to draw close to our Lord, and to pray for our neighbors near and far. Members of the council have committed themselves to a day of prayer and fasting each week during the Lenten Season.
The six-week long season of Lent comes from a word meaning the lengthening of days and has long been highlighted as a season of repentance, reflection, and rekindling our relationship with Jesus. God strengthens as the days lengthen.
Several years ago, ABC pastor Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Savage provided a seminar on spiritual practices for American Baptist national staff in which he emphasized the importance of both practices of omission and practices of commission. Fasting from food and engaging God in prayer encompasses this concept, but is merely one example. Others are encouraged to adopt their own spiritual practices during the Lenten season that begins on Wednesday, February 26 and ends on Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020.
The National Executive Council is made up of the leaders of American Baptist Home Mission Societies, American Baptist International Ministries, American Baptist Women’s Ministries, and MMBB Financial Services, along with the General Secretary of American Baptist Churches.
See the words of encouragement below from members of the National Executive Council:
“I am committing to one day a week of Lenten fasting and praying to draw nearer to God’s word and purpose for my life. Secondly, I believe that constructive fasting also serves to physiologically cleanse the earthly temple that has been entrusted to me.”
Chief Executive Officer, MMBB Financial Services
Help me to cherish the days that you have given me to walk on this earth… for life is short;
Open my eyes to see you at work in the world around me… for I am self-centered;
Broaden my heart’s capacity to love like you do… for I am judgmental;
And shine the light of your hope into the darkest parts of my humanness… for I am fallen.
In Jesus Name,
Rev. Sharon Koh
Executive Director/CEO, International Ministries
“During the Lenten Season, I will join many Christians all over the world as we sacrifice something we enjoy or assume a discipline in order to pause and pray as we seek God for new revelations in our lives. Prayer and fasting are essential in my journey to deepen my relationship with God. Therefore, I pray that through the Holy Spirit we will be transformed together and more emboldened to share and live our witness of God’s Grace and Love.”
Rev. Gina C. Jacobs-Strain
Executive Director, American Baptist Women’s Ministries
“During this Lenten season I seek increased stillness for developing patience, increased quietude for listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, and increased discipline for self-care of my mind and body that I might be a healthier member of my family and servant of The Beloved Community.”
Dr. Jeffrey Haggray
Executive Director, American Baptist Home Mission Societies
“When I served as a pastor, I relished opportunities to guide a congregation through the Lenten Season and often encouraged others with the phrase, ‘The greater the preparation, the greater the celebration.’ It is a joyous occasion to be able to immerse myself in the presence of God with my American Baptist family during this Lenten Season as we anticipate the celebration of resurrection.”
Dr. C. Jeff Woods
Acting General Secretary, American Baptist Churches USA
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from then and then they will fast in those days. Luke 5:35
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.